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Clontarf finish off local battle

DETERMINED Clontarf battled to a hard-earned two-point victory over neighbour's Raheny to secure the Dublin under-21 'B' football championship title at Balgriffin on Saturday afternoon.

In truth, the more clinical side won as Raheny enjoyed large periods of possession but were unable to make it count, particularly in the final 15 minutes as they toiled to make the all-important breakthrough.



ASSURED

Clontarf on the other hand were more assured and had the ability to score at vital moments to keep the runners-up at arm's length.

The opening quarter was like watching a shootout as all the scores came courtesy of the deadball. The influential Ciarán Johnson's cultured left foot was responsible for setting the umpires to work before Stephen Swords got the Raheny men off the mark with a massive kick to split the posts.

Raheny's midfield of John Sullivan and Tiernan Dunne began to grow in influence. Indeed perhaps the score of the match was a move started by Sullivan inside his own half which ended up with Dunne applying the pointed finish.

But Clontarf are made of stern stuff and they managed to rattle off a number of fine scores of their own before the break. Ian O'Dwyer, Johnson and Shane Doyle all raised white flags to give their side a 0-6 to 0-4 interval lead.

Doyle's attitude epitomised his team's desire. He was defending tirelessly from the front and two of his interceptions resulted in scores for team-mates.

Raheny were quick off the blocks in the second period. Corner-forward Luke Dillon struck to leave the minimum between the teams but it was to be as close as they came to drawing level as Clontarf benefited from the pivotal moment of the game.

Ian O'Dwyer struck a 45 towards goal and Doyle flicked the ball into the net for the only green flag of this decider.



BODY BLOW

It was a real body blow for Raheny but they continued to battle for the remainder of the half.

Raheny moved Seán Dempsey to full-forward in the hope his direct running style would reap benefits as his team-mate Eoghan Keogh attempted to pick holes in the red wall in front of him.

Clontarf showed a great maturity in their defending and Ger Carey was an excellent marshal in the pivot position. He drove his team forward at every opportunity and illustrated a no-nonsense attitude to his defensive duties at No6.

Dempsey struck a couple over to reduce the deficit to two points, but each time Raheny found themselves back in the hunt, Clontarf were able to respond with a score which prevented any momentum for a comeback.

Fittingly, the final say in the match went to O'Dwyer when he converted a huge free in the closing minutes to ensure a famous victory for Clontarf.


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